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CNN International: World Leaders Begin Arriving in India for Annual G20 Meeting; New Polling Raises Concerns About Biden's 2024 Chances; First Comments from U.S. Man Trapped Inside Turkish Cave; Hurricane Lee Now a Category Five and Gaining Strength; Blinken Visits Site of Purported Russian Atrocities. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired September 08, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello sailor. I'm Max Foster joining you live from London just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House says that this isn't necessarily an effort to counter China.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So many of the world's top powers and top leaders coming to New Delhi for this very prestigious forum, it's a huge opportunity for India.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That concern about age is very real, and it's getting more deeply entrenched in voters' psyches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 14 months until an election and there's a lot of work we have to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm aware of them talking, but I'm not healed on the inside yet. So and I need a little -- a lot of help to get out of here.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

FOSTER: It is September the 8th, 9:00 a.m. here in London, 1:30 in the afternoon in New Delhi, where President Joe Biden will arrive in the coming hours for this weekend's G20 Summit.

NOBILO: Leaders of the world's largest economies, representing about 80 percent of the world's GDP, have already begun arriving for the annual meeting. FOSTER: But Vladimir Putin won't be there. The Russian President is

against staying home, sending his foreign minister instead. Putin has an international arrest warrant hanging over him and leaving Russia is risky.

NOBILO: China's Xi Jinping, who commands the world's second largest economy, has also decided not to come, not giving a reason. That came as a surprise to many, considering that Xi has never missed a G20 summit before.

Now let's go right to CNN's Kevin Liptak, who's standing by for us in New Delhi. Kevin, the Foreign Minister in India said that the global crises facing this bloc are far more difficult, far more complicated and more worrisome than it's been for a long time. Given that and the fact that the divisions within the G20 are so sharp right now, what can President Biden hope to achieve?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, there's no doubt that the G20 is at a fractured moment when it comes to Ukraine. When it comes to how to confront China. And President Biden's real objective when he comes over here is not necessarily to paper all over all of those divisions. That would basically be impossible. But really to provide the developing world, an alternative to China. To convince these countries that the United States can be a better partner and he does have an opening on that front.

As you said, President Xi Jinping will not be here in New Delhi for this summit. It is a lost opportunity in some ways. You'll remember at last year's G20 in Bali, President Biden and President Xi met for several hours. There's no chance of that happening here. But the president's advisors do believe that he has an opening here. To tell the world that the United States is here for the developing world and he does come armed with certain proposals to reform institutions like the World Bank. To provide hundreds of billions of dollars more in loans to the developing world.

The United States says that this is not necessarily about China, but they do say that that this is an opportunity to provide better lending practices to some of the world's most vulnerable populations.

Of course, the war in Ukraine is also looming over this summit. And in the lead up to President Biden's arrival, we're told that diplomats are working furiously behind the scenes to come up with some sort of language in a joint communique. Condemning the war in Ukraine. But remember, Russia is also a member of the G20. So how much these diplomats will be able to do remains to be seen. And it is a possibility that a communique does not emerge from this summit.

Which would be a major disappointment for the man at the center of these talks, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. He is hoping to use this summit to bolster his reputation as a global statesman. And it has been remarkable as you drive around New Delhi, his face is plastered on billboards, on signs, you really can't walk 10 feet without seeing him. President Biden's first order of business when he arrives here in

India later today, will be a meeting with Prime Minister Modi at his residence here in New Delhi.

NOBILO: Kevin Liptak for us. Thank you so much for joining us.

FOSTER: Back at home, President Biden is facing some serious challenges to his bid to rewin reelection.


NOBILO: News CNN polling shows Mr. Biden would be at risk of losing the election if it were held today, and that is obviously creating alarm within his own party, the majority of which wants someone else to run for president.


SEN. MARK KELLY (D-AZ): There's no doubt about it. The polls say what they say. It's only 14 months until the election and there's a lot of work we have to do.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I think the people basically spoken loud and clear, they're not happy with the two choices and only two choices.


FOSTER: So just how bad are things looking and can Bidens campaign turn things around? Our Jeff Zeleny breaks down the numbers for you?


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: President Biden sets off for the G20 summit in India, blinking warning signs for his reelection prospects here in the United States. A new CNN poll shows a 39 percent approval rating for the president. When you look into those numbers, there are dramatic signs of challenges across the board. Let's take a look at some of those numbers.

On his approval rating. In that number, 39 percent approve, 61 percent disapprove, largely based on the economy. Some 58 percent of Americans believe the Biden policies have worsened the economic conditions here in the United States. That certainly is not something that the administration has been hoping for. They believe their policies from the infrastructure bill, to lowering prescription drug prices, to the Inflation Reduction Act would certainly be a calling card for his reelection. But with inflation still higher than most people would like, this certainly is a challenge for him.

Now one other alarming number, 67 percent of Democrats say they would like a different candidate. When asked, 33 percent of Democrats say that they prefer President Biden as the candidate, but 2/3, 67 percent say they would like a different candidate. Of course, there are no other major Democratic candidates in this race. That is likely one of the biggest benefits for the president that he does not face a stiff primary challenge. But that number is striking in terms of the satisfaction with the president.

Now going into the concerns. When asked this open-ended question, age was the reasoning among Democratic voters for why they want to move on to someone else. 49 percent of respondents listed age as the concern, 7 percent said mental sharpness, 7 percent said health, ability to do the job and 6 percent electability popularity. But that age number, 49 percent certainly hangs over everything.

Now the economic conditions, of course, 58 percent say the policies have worsened it, but that is something, of course, the White House believes that they can turn around. They believe this is something through advertising and just messaging and explaining to the American people what his policies have done. They believe that is something that can be turned around.

But when you look at the choice for President, of course, this is not a done deal yet. Former President Donald Trump is still very much in a robust primary of his own. But 47 percent say they support Donald Trump, 46 percent say they support to President Biden. Of course, that's within the margin of error, no clear leader.

But one thing is clear in this deeply divided country, a pessimistic mood hangs over the economy, hangs over the country. That means President Biden is in for a very challenging reelection year ahead.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN Washington.


NOBILO: Still, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine is voicing optimism about President Biden's chances in 2024. Kaine was Hillary Clinton's running mate when she faced off against Donald Trump back in 2016, and he says he believes that Joe Biden can turn things around.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): President Biden's accomplishments have been strong. We've got to get out there and sell them. I feel like the time between now and November of 2024 is going to be one accomplishment after the next on the Democratic side and one legal trial and tribulation after the next for President Trump.


FOSTER: Donald Trump's former attorney Rudy Giuliani is facing millions of dollars in unpaid legal bills, and a source familiar with the matter says Giuliani hopes a fundraiser at Trump's Bedminster Golf Club last night will help eat into that debt. We're told the $100,000 a plate event was expected to raise more than a million dollars.

NOBILO: But Giuliani's son told the local radio show that won't be enough to cover his father's legal fees. The former mayor of New York City is facing several lawsuits, as well as criminal charges stemming from his efforts to help Trump overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Former Donald Trump adviser Peter Navarro is vowing to appeal his

conviction on contempt of Congress charges.

FOSTER: The jury found Navarro guilty on Thursday and the judge has scheduled his sentencing for January 12th. CNN's Evan Perez picks up the story.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress for not complying with the subpoena from the House Select Committee that was investigating that January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Navarro is now the second former aide to the former president to be convicted for snubbing the Congressional committee.


Steve Bannon was convicted last year on two contempt counts. He is currently appealing that conviction. Navarro pledged to appeal based on his claims that what Congress was asking for was protected by executive privilege.

PETER NAVARRO, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: President Trump has been a rock in terms of assistance. We talk when we need to talk. He will win the president's race in 2024 in November. You know why? Because the people are tired of Joe Biden weaponizing courts like this and the Department of Justice.

PEREZ: Prosecutors argued that Navarro ignored the Congressional subpoena and that Trump never actually asserted executive privilege. Several other Trump aides negotiated with the committee after Trump claimed executive privilege. Some of the documents that Navarro refused to turn over to the Congressional committee are also the subject of another legal fight with the Justice Department, which has sued to obtain them. Navarro is contesting legal rulings in that case.

Evan Perez, CNN Washington.


FOSTER: An American man who's been trapped for days inside a deep cave in southern Turkey is describing his ordeal for the very first time. Turkey's government released this video of instructor Mark Dickey, who was taking part in a team expedition when he suffered gastrointestinal bleeding.

NOBILO: Dicky remains deep below ground, but rescuers managed to get blood units to him. He's now upright, alert and even smiling, but says he's not healed and will still need a lot of help to get out of this cave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK DICKEY, RESEARCHER TRAPPED IN TURKISH CAVE: I'm Mark Dickey from nearly 1,000 meters and I want to thank everyone that's down here and thank the response in the caving community. The caving world is a really tight knit group and it is amazing to see how many people have responded on the surface.


FOSTER: And Nada joins us with more details. I mean, he's getting good care, isn't he? It's just when it's safe to move him.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely. I mean, this is a welcome update from the depths of what is Turkey's third deepest cave. And we have seen that rescue effort for over or just about a week now. 150 rescuers from across the globe heading to this cave in order to provide support and help in this rescue operation.

And of course, there has been concern around his health. We know that he suffered from gastrointestinal bleeding, that he required medical attention at base camp some 3,000 feet below ground. But clearly as we saw in that video, there are some positive indications that he is indeed in a stable condition, that he is improving. But as you said there, he is going to require a lot of help in order to actually make it out of the cave. We're talking about some very narrow winding passageways which could pose a challenge to rescuers. And this is something that Dickey has himself acknowledged in another message in this video. Take a listen.


DICKEY: I look forward to working with everyone to safely get myself out with their assistance. And as you can see, I'm up. I'm alert. I'm talking, but I'm not healed on the inside yet, so I'm going to need a lot of help to get out of here.


BASHIR: Now, of course, those winding passageways do pose a significant challenge. He isn't able to have actual pressure on his stomach area, so that will be an obstacle for rescuers. We've heard from Turkish caving officials who have said that typically it would take around 15 full hours for an experienced caver to make it out in ideal conditions. But of course we've heard from experts saying that it is anticipated it will take days to rescue Dickie. But of course at some positive indications they remain cautiously optimistic.


NOBILO: Quite sweet as well. He said. It was an example of the caving community looking after their own. Because I think there are Italian, Hungarian, Croatian caving rescuers and people from the community trying to come together. Thank you so much, Nada.

FOSTER: 24 hours ago, Hurricane Lee was barely a hurricane. Not anymore. Now it is a monster category 5 storm as it churns in the record warm temperatures with the Atlantic. NOBILO: At last report, winds were at 160 miles per hour and

forecasters say they could soon approach 180 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center says dangerous life-threatening surf and rip current conditions are expected in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and other islands this weekend. But it could begin to affect the. U.S. East Coast by Sunday. CNN's Chad Myers has more on where the storm may be heading.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hurricane Lee, a very impressive major hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean right now and getting stronger. It's in very warm water. The eye is very clear there on the last couple of frames, which means that the storm is likely even getting stronger at this hour. Hurricane hunters have been flying back and forth to see how strong this storm is. And still moving toward the Northwest, but the models are really turning this hard to the right at the very, very end of that five-day period.


Turning it hard -- this is the American model. All the ensembles of the American model, turning it hard to the right. Now will the turn happen. That's always the question. Does it happen 12 hours early and turn here with this line? Or does it turn 12 hours later and turn over here? It's a big, big story for the northeastern part of the United States and even into Atlantic Canada.

Where the storm is right now is 3 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, 2 to 3 degrees Celsius above normal. But look at this blue area here. There was a hurricane here last week, Hurricane Franklin, also a major hurricane, and it mixed the water up. It took that warm water from the surface and used it to make the hurricane and then mixed water from down below the colder water up to the surface. So Lee has to run through and into this colder water. That may slow it down, just a touch. At least that's what everyone is hoping for.

FOSTER: Absolutely.

NOBILO: Just days after being battered by a typhoon, Hong Kong is now seeing its heaviest rainfall in more than 100 years.

FOSTER: Officials say more than six inches -- that's 158 millimeters of rain -- fell in one hour. Would you believe it, on Thursday night? And the Weather Bureau issued its highest black rainstorm warning, urging people to stay inside and find shelter.

NOBILO: Schools and businesses across the city are closed and trading at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was cancelled. Some areas have already seen nearly 500 millimeters -- that's more than 19 inches of rainfall in the past 24 hours.

FOSTER: Just days after Greece endured deadly wildfires, torrential rain there is turning streets into dangerous rivers and lakes. At least six people have been killed and more than 800 rescued this week from the extreme flooding. The rainstorms ripped apart buildings and bridges and left some villages completely submerged. Floodwaters in some parts of the country have been more than six feet deep. Here's how one resident describes the deluge.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We have never experienced anything like this before in all these years. Even older people who we spoke with told us that they had never experienced this phenomenon before. The water was way too much.


NOBILO: A government spokesman says the region where Athens, the capital is located, got nearly three times the average annual rainfall in about 12 hours.

FOSTER: And in southern Brazil, nearly forty people are dead in the aftermath of a cyclone. It tore through communities in Rio Grande du Sol state this week are causing severe floods, according to CNN affiliate CNN Brazil. This week's rains are the worst natural disaster to hit the region in 40 years. Several people are missing and more than 3,500 people have been forced to leave their homes.

NOBILO: In Bolivia, firefighters are struggling to contain a massive wildfire that's burning through a protected forest. Officials are using helicopters to help firefighters on the ground, but more than 12,000 acres, or about 5,000 hectares, have already been destroyed. The fire is one of three active blazes scorching the Santa Cruz area of southeastern Bolivia.

Survivors of a horrific Russian imprisonment in Ukraine share their stories with the U.S. Secretary of State. You'll hear his reaction to what they said about abuse during Russian occupation.

FOSTER: And actor Danny Masterson could end up spending the rest of his life in prison after being sentenced for raping two women years ago. Details next on CNN NEWSROOM.

NOBILO: Plus, he brings laughs to U.S. late night television, but new reporting reveals that working with Jimmy Fallon is sometimes anything but fun. How The Tonight Show host reacted to complaints.



NOBILO: Ukraine says emergency services are on site after a new missile attack on Zaporizhzhia.

FOSTER: Officials say the city was struck Friday morning, leaving at least one person wounded. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Air Force also says the Odessa region was targeted by a drone attack, but officials say air defenses managed to destroy most of them.

NOBILO: On the front lines, Ukraine says it continues to make incremental gains in its counteroffensive in the south. A local Ukrainian brigade posted this video on social media, saying it shows fighting for the village of Robotyne. It was recently captured by Ukraine and now Ukrainian military sources say their troops overran several Russian positions south of there.

FOSTER: And meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken heard horror stories about the abuse of Ukrainian civilians at the hands of Russian forces. He visited a town north of Kyiv on Thursday, where survivors told him about their imprisonment whilst the area was occupied in the early days of the war.

Katie's with us to talk about both those elements. But first of all, the frontline footage was pretty dramatic and shows what they're dealing with. It's really hand to hand, isn't it, almost.

KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: It's really challenging and I think we need to remember that. We're talking incrementally -- incremental gains, but this is difficult. These are really heavily fortified trenches. The Russians are really fighting back. There are considerable counter attacks happening while they're making this progress. And you mentioned Robotyne, they're moving on now to other areas around Robotyne, another village called Novoprokopivka, they're moving on. That's about 3 kilometers away or so. So these aren't big distances, but they are continuing to move and that is significant.

This is what they've been saying for the past few weeks. They are continuing to press on. They are holding this land and they are continuing to make new gains. And that is significant, but I think also we should bear in mind, and you mentioned at the start. that there are still civilian casualties in this war.

And while we talk about these land gains, while we talk about these battlefield movements, there are other areas such as Odessa you mentioned also Zaporizhzhia, where civilians are getting targeted. Now Odessa was hit by 16 drone attacks. They say that have 20 drone attacks, they downed 16 of them. This comes just a day after an agricultural worker in the area was killed. These are very regular attacks on this area. Likewise in Zaporizhzhia. This is an area where civilians were evacuated from earlier this week and earlier this month. And again, this is because of this risk. They know civilians are at risk from Russian aerial bombardments and are going, unfortunately appears to continue to be so.


And let's talk more about the horrors that civilians are having to experience. We saw briefly there that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to some civilians to hear first hand about what they endured when they were under Russian occupation.

POLGLASE: Yes, Bianca, it's horrendous. If we remember what happened, this is right at the start of the war. Just an area just north of Kyiv, Blinken this week went to visit to see for himself what had happened there. Now if we recall, what happened at the beginning of the war, it was under Russian occupation this area. And what happened is that there were many, many people kept in a school in a basement. And there were horrific reports of torture, of people being left to die, of people being kept out and bodies being carried over, children who were also being kept in this basement. Horrific, horrific experiences for those and some people survived and some people have met with Blinken to talk about their experience. Blinken then visited this school and this basement. Have a listen to what he said about that visit.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Now what happened here happened at the beginning of the Russian aggression. But the atrocities and the impact it's having on Ukrainians of all ages, continue to this very day. Just yesterday, we saw the bombing of a market -- 17 people or more killed, many others injured. A market. For what? This is what Ukrainians are living with every day.


POLGLASE: Now he is, of course, referring here to an attack on a market in Kostiantynivka in Donetsk earlier this week. We talked about it yesterday. This was one of the deadliest attacks on civilians really for quite some time. But if we compare that with the experiences of the people in Chaplyne (ph) at the beginning of this war. This is something that has continued throughout. Not just weeks, months and months of this war, civilians experience these kinds of terrifying attacks.

And I think it's important to note. Because while we talk about these battleground movements and the progressions on the military front, there is a civilian side to this and there are many Ukrainians still living very close to these frontlines that live with the terror and the pain of this kind of experience nearly every day.

NOBILO: And that did seem to have made an impression on Blinken. He's typically polished and poised. He did appear to be shaken when he was speaking just now. Katie Polglase, thank you so much.

FOSTER: 20 Russian diplomats and staff arrived at the country's embassy in North Korea on Thursday.

NOBILO: Their arrival comes amid speculation of a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The Russian embassy says the new envoys and staff are part of the first personnel rotation since the COVID-19 pandemic.

FOSTER: The Kremlin says it's committed to developing its relationship with Pyongyang, regardless of the opinions of other countries. U.S. officials have warned North Korea will, quote, pay a price if it makes a weapons deal with Russia.

NOBILO: Meanwhile, South Korea is playing down any threat from North Korea's new so-called nuclear attack submarine. The South Korean military says it believes the new sub is, quote, not capable of normal operation.

FOSTER: Pyongyang claims it launched A tactical nuclear attack submarine just days before the country marks its 75th anniversary. North Korean state media says Kim Jong-un attended the launch ceremony on Wednesday. The announcement comes after Pyongyang said it simulated a nuclear missile attack over the weekend to warn the U.S. of, quote, nuclear war danger.

NOBILO: The U.S. President is off to India for this weekend's G20 summit, but the leaders of Russia and China won't be there, which could present an opportunity for President Biden. A live report from New Delhi is just ahead.

Plus, tributes to mark the first anniversary of the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles reflects on the devoted service of his mother next.